Tag Archives: food & fitness



In all truth, it only took a few days for me to get my days back on track since we returned from Australia on the 15th. {I did have a few nights of going to bed early and then waking up in the middle of the night for four hours at a time.} And surprisingly, catching up at work only took about a week. But that was followed by a $400 vet trip for Sophie Jean to have a tooth removed with the longest recovery time I’ve ever encountered with her.

I also spent evenings having dinners with friends to catch up. Then, I a wonderful birthday weekend celebration including dinner at the best Wine Bar in Minneapolis {more to come!}, golfing with friends, winning a game of Texas Hold ‘Em, enjoying a Crème Brûlée French Toast Brunch and finding Pumking on tap. Nothing to complain about there!

That was followed by a three-day work-week (again – not complaining!) in order to make my way to Green Bay for our second Packer game as a (Gold Package) Season Ticket Holder.

So it’s time to reboot and get back into the routine. That includes finances, workouts, meal-planning and blogging. But that doesn’t mean this doesn’t include fun!


To reboot, here’s what I’ve got planned for the week:



  • MondayChocolate Chili
  • Tuesday – Leftover Chocolate Chili
  • Wednesday Pork Chops with Garlic Parmesan Parmesan Broccoli (Seriously, I made this for Rob and had a bite and had a taste. It wasn’t bad! I’m going to try to eat a whole serving.)
  • Thursday –  Leftover Pork Chops with Garlic Parmesan Parmesan Broccoli
  • Friday – Our monthly Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament begins! Happy Hour will most likely be at Carbone’s, where I love their Cheeseburger Wrap!
  • Saturday – We have Groupons to use that expire this month at The Tangiers, Firehouse Grille and Mattie’s on Main. We’ll most likely use one this day.
  • Sunday – TBD – Packer game at noon!




I’m having a hard time doing any hard core workouts without having back issues or cramps. I know I can just walk, but that doesn’t feel like enough cardio for me. I’ve been doing HIIT by using the first day of the Couch to 5k as a guide, where I sprint (or run as fast as I possibly can) the running portion. It’s made me very sore. So I’m going to alternate workouts based on how I feel. But here are the days I plan to workout.

  • Monday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Tuesday Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Wednesday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Thursday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Sunday – REST

How do you reboot?


It’s Been A Week + Recipe Arsenal


It’s been a week since I posted. Where has the time gone?

But I did put together a new Recipe Arsenal on the site. Sure, many of these recipes are pinned, but I wanted to share them with you and introduce you to some of the places where I find recipes. These particular links are my tried and true go-to recipes.

And I really do need a list like that this week!


I don’t have anything planned for cooking this week because we are prepping for vacation. {No, it’s not time for Australia, yet! But I have been busy planning that, too!} This list will make it easy to pick things out of my pantry when I need to throw something together this week.

And as for fitness, we are still running.


What’s in your recipe arsenal?



This Week: Cooking with What’s on Hand


So, I didn’t get my usual Monday Food & Fitness post up that I link to Running with Racheal.


I guess that weekend out of town ended with a lack of planning for the week. Now it’s time get creative and use up what we have in fridge and  pantry!

What do I know?


  • I have bread in the freezer and peanut butter in the fridge. Looks like it’s going to be a week of PB Toast breakfasts!
  • I put together some Quick and Easy Bowls for lunch this week based on what I had on hand. The rest will be leftovers
  • I have three days to cook dinner this week.
  • One of those days is just for me – I was considering this Strawberry Caprese Pasta Salad. Then I realized, we don’t have strawberries. So I may just make some Tilapia Topped with Tomatoes with this Zucchini and Onion Saute that always reminds me of Provence.
  • I have pork chops, green beans and ground beef in the freezer.
  • Worst case scenario, if I don’t get to the grocery store, we’ll be eating pork chops and green beans one night and Chocolate Chili another. Although, Rob has given me the go ahead on this One Pot Cheeseburger Skillet {I can’t call it a casserole or he won’t eat it!}

How’s that for last-minute planning?!


I had some trouble with my back this weekend. Sleeping and getting out of bed has not been easy. So I’ve decided to take the doc’s advice for the next couple of days.

  • Tuesday – PT Exercises & Walk
  • Wednesday – PT Exercises & Walk
  • Thursday – PT Exercises & Run (if feeling okay, otherwise, walk)
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – PT Exercises & Run
  • Sunday – PT Exercises & Walk

What are your favorite go-to meals when you don’t get to the store and can only use what you have on hand?

What’s the best and most creative dish you’ve come up with doing that?



And the 2014 Olympics come to an end…


I just love the Olympics! I didn’t watch as much this year as I normally do. But I get excited every time it comes around. I’m sad that it has come to an end.

And please know that those twin toilet bathrooms that many found in Sochi can be found here in the states, too! Here’s a throwback photo from our visit to Michigan last summer:


O’Sullivan’s Pub – Gladwin, Michigan

In other news, yesterday was my two-year blogaversary. I don’t know what I really want to say about that. Time flies? 😉

Now it’s time for the usual…




Just an fyi – last week’s Zoodles with Meat Sauce were a hit! <<– Highly recommended. I followed this recipe, but used a julienne peeler like Jen did here. I made a meat sauce instead of meatballs.


  • Leftovers
  • I’m still loving these Quick & Easy Bowls! Last week’s bowls were heated. This week’s lunches will be leftovers of the Taco Salads I’m making for dinner. The layers will include:
    1. Base: romaine
    2. Grain/Starch: 1/2 cup rice {I might forego the rice this week if I don’t have time to make it and double the protein!}
    3. Protein: 1/2 cup beef & black bean mixture from above {I might put this in a separate bowl to re-heat and top on the salad at work before eating.}
    4. Veg: onion and grape tomatoes or drained canned tomatoes
    5. Fat: shredded cheese or Wholly Guacamole
    6. Sauce: Salsa-Ranch Dressing that Biz always recommends!
  • I have blackberries, bananas as well as nuts as snacks. And of course, my daily dose of dark chocolate.


  • I have a couple of options available and will make them depending on what I am in the mood/have time for each day:
    • Breakfast Quesadillas – I made a couple of these last week inspired by the Breakfast Quesadilla we had at Ike’s before our flight to St. Augustine. In my at-home version, I used:
      • Flour tortilla
      • Scrambled egg with diced onion
      • chopped tomato or salsa
      • Shredded cheddar
      • So easy and delicious! {I guess I’ve been in a Mexican/Tex-Mex mood lately!}
    • PB Toast
    • Granola with milk


  • Post-back surgery PT exercises until I get strong enough to move into more yoga.
  • Recumbent bike
  • I should be good to get back on the treadmill next week!

Do you prefer the winter or summer Olympics?

What your favorite thing to make when you are in a mood for Mexican or Tex-Mex?


How Much Do You Sleep? {Food & Fitness Link-Up}


I am one of those people who needs sleep. In that I don’t function well. I get crabby…

And we know that sleep is vital to our health. But why is it that I know so many people who are seemingly fit or healthy that seem to pride themselves on functioning on little sleep?

I used to be that person.

I recently read an article that teenagers should get about 10 hours of sleep per night. I most certainly didn’t get that as a teenager. I worked the maximum hours possible, allowed by law, for a kid in high school. I had something going pretty much every night of the week, whether if be working or academics. I often didn’t start my homework until late at night and usually went to bed about 11:30pm. But then I’d get up at 5:30am to start it all over again.

I had a social life, too, often staying out late because I didn’t really have a curfew. Then I’d get up early again on the weekends to attend a Forensics Tournament miles and miles away. I thought I needed to do all of these things to get into and afford college.

This wasn’t a good habit to have formed.

College was a little better. Because I knew I liked my sleep, I didn’t schedule any classes before 9:30am and I didn’t work as much the first year.

But in the summer, I often had two jobs and somehow this continued… even after college. Then it just became life for me as I mentioned here.

As part of my self-care theme this year, I’m not only trying to slow down, but also focus on getting more sleep.

And while I’m not a parent myself, I know there are plenty out there (especially those of newborns) who only wish they could get more sleep! I especially liked this couple’s attempt to do so!

But other than that, when did it become a thing of pride to thrive on little sleep?

In American society, we are all familiar with busy schedules. We go, go, go… And most of us don’t make sleep a priority. We think that because we are busy, we are being productive. But that isn’t always the case. Especially not when it comes to health.

I once read on a magazine cover, “Sitting is the New Smoking.” I didn’t read the article, but that title has stuck with me. And I think as a society, we are becoming much more aware of the importance of activity in our lifestyles.

I’m only hoping that we can one day put the same importance on sleep.

Because you can’t make up that missed sleep.





There aren’t many days available to cook this week, so here is what I’m thinking…



  • I have a couple of options available and will make them depending on what I am in the mood/have time for each day:
    • PB Toast
    • Granola with milk


  • I didn’t do my post-back surgery PT exercises every day last week, but I did feel great on the days I did! I’m planning to continue them until I get stronger and then move right into more yoga.
  • I tried the recumbent bike last week. My doc said it was okay as long as it’s not putting any pressure on nor whacking my toe. The bike has caused my back to hurt in the past. So I started with an easy 5 minutes – barefoot. When that felt okay, I went to 10. I’m going to continue on the bike slowly increasing speed and increments of time.

Something is better than nothing!

How much sleep do you get?

How do you make sure you get enough?


Recipe Fails & Wins {Food & Fitness Link-Up}


Before I list what my Food & Fitness plans are for the coming week, it’s important to note that I added a few things to last week’s menu. There were some changes in plans and some particular foodstuffs that needed to be used…

So I totally went rogue.

Some were wins, some were fails and some were just overseasoned.



First, my beloved Crockpot Carnitas turned out too salty. Funny. I didn’t add any salt to that two-ingredient recipe. What was different? We used my cousin’s salsa she jarred for us as a topping. But I tasted the salsa on its own. It was not too salty at all. It would be the perfect addition to any carnitas! Then Rob checked the package of my pork loin. It was loaded with sodium! 370 mg per 130 calorie serving. How can that be? Do they inject saline into it? I even rinsed the loin after I took it out of the pacakge.



Then I made the Chocolate Chili that we love so much. Because the recipe doesn’t really call for any heat, I add cayenne and red chili flakes to taste. And I do taste it before serving. I loved the heat this go round, but Rob said it was was too much.


We counteracted it with a dollop of sour cream.


But next time, I’ll add a little of the heat at a time and have Rob taste it before adding more. I thought we had the same thoughts about heat, but it could have been just that day that we were off?



I was extremely excited to make this Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. And since it was low calorie, I intended to divvy it up into five bowls for the week. A little warm apple-cinnamon oatmeal sounded perfect for those bitterly cold mornings we endured last week! But upon waking on Monday morning, I found out it was blah and virtually flavorless.


The recipe did suggest toppings. And while my plan was to add a tablespoon of slivered almonds to each bowl every morning after reheating it, I ended up adding another teaspoon of brown sugar, too. The maple syrup suggested may have been a nice touch as well.




Speaking of oatmeal, the weekend prior to this pas one, I got excited to use a coconut butter sample I’ve had for a while in this recipe for Coconut Cookie Dough Oatmeal. Oh, boy is this good! And decadent. It’s a little high in calories {per the Calorie Count Recipe Analysis calculator} when all is said and done. But it’s so worth it. It would even make a great dessert!

Coconut Cookie Dough Oatmeal {Note to self: broil it for less time or broil it further from the heat source to keep the chocolate chips from burning.}

Coconut Cookie Dough Oatmeal {Note to self: broil it for less time or broil it further from the heat source to keep the chocolate chips from burning.}



We had a last minute girls get together where I decided to host dinner, so I looked in my pantry and decided to make this Mexican Chicken Stew with my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t have to send them home hungry.

My changes: More chicken, less beans. About 20 oz of chicken and only 2 cans of beans {I don’t know how there’d be any liquid with four cans of beans!} And I decided to do one can of the Great Northern and one can of black beans. I also skipped the jalapenos because not only did I not have them on hand, but I had this can of diced tomatoes:

Red Gold Tomatoes with Chiles

We loved it! For “toppings”, I served diced tomatoes, diced onions, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and Wholly Guacamole minis so that they could decide what they wanted to add. I loved it with the toppings; but I think in a pinch, you wouldn’t need any at all because this recipe is so flavorful.

Bonus: This makes 8 servings. So, yay for yummy leftovers for me! I also thought that we’d be craving some crusty bread, tortilla chip toppings or some sort of carb to balance this meal out. But it wasn’t necessary at all. Instead, it was so filling and delicious. I may try it with pork sometime for Rob. (Well pork without added sodium, that is.)



For dessert, I made Homemade Raspberry Frozen Yogurt based off of this recipe. I had a gigantic bag of frozen raspberries at in my freezer; so it was the perfect way to use them. Plus I had some Greek yogurt in the fridge needing to be used. Let me tell you guys, this was sooooo incredibly easy. I made it in just minutes in my food processor and it could be served immediately. However, after freezing the leftovers in individual containers, I’d recommend taking the frozen yogurt out about a half hour or so before eating. It’s just way too hard right out of  of the freezer.



Now for this week!





  • Leftovers or Tuna Cucumber Boats + blood orange and/or applesauce + piece of Dove dark Chocolate



  • I have been having back issues pain again. It’s nothing like it was pre-surgery. But I don’t want to get to that point. Nor do I want to have surgery again. So it’s off to see the surgeon on Tuesday for a consult. Please just tell me what to do do to prevent it from getting worse!
  • I’ve been walking (even if slowly) on the treadmill for about 45 minutes about 4 days per week, depending on what my back can handle.

What is one big recipe WIN you’ve had lately?


Couch to 5k – Week 8 {And Food & Fitness Link-Up}


This past week I completed the last week of the Couch to 5k program!

That means that I will be running my first post-surgery 5k this coming weekend. The 5k-ish {not official, more like 3.21 miles} is a walk/run fundraiser for the Scott Carver County Humane Society, which is where we found Shamrock.

My fundraising goal since I signed up just 3 weeks ago is $250. With your help, I’ve raised $100! Surely I have 15 more friends who can spare a 10-spot. If so, you can donate here. A special thanks goes out to all of you who have donated already. Cheers to you!

So how did Week 8 go?

Couch to 5k – Week 8

Day 1 – Monday

  • 5 min warm-up
  • Run 28 min
  • 5 min cool-down

It was a little rough. I’m having the soreness and aches and pains in my legs that I’ve had in the past. But I’m also having back pain. It’s no where nearly as bad as it was before surgery, but I hope it’s not running that’s causing it. I’ve been icing and taking everything else pretty easy.

Day 1

Day 2 – Wednesday

  • 5 min warm-up
  • Run 29 min
  • 5 min cool-down

Same aches and pains and random lower back pain. This does not happen immediately after running. In fact, I feel better while I am running. Sometimes it’s a few hours later or the next day.

Remember last week’s Food & Fitness Plan? Well, I semi-failed on the Fitness portion. I only ran the three days required in the C25k program. I didn’t do anything else. I did try walking the dogs one night, but Sham has been no good on the leash lately. I’ve decided to walk them separately, hoping to teach Shamrock a little more. They used to be better walking together, but I think Sham is becoming more confident and getting bolder! At least Rob gets to walk them in the 5k walk on Saturday.

And that yoga I said I’d do? Haven’t done. It’s my core that I need to make stronger!

Day 2

Day 3 – Sunday

My Saturday run became my Sunday run due to the fact that we had to get out of our neighborhood early to avoid a local festival and make it to a wedding. But then on Sunday, I just wasn’t feeling well. By the time I got to feeling better to run, it was 7:15pm and I knew if I changed into my running clothes then and made my way outside, it would soon be dark.

That was no excuse. And I knew running would do me well mentally and also help make up for my poor eating All. Day. Long. So I did this run on the treadmill. Though we recently got a very nice, new treadmill, I forgot how hard it is to run on that thing. Not hard on my body, but how hard it is mentally. I look down at the time and speed rather than pay attention to how I’m feeling when I’m running outside. I don’t know how I’m going to continue this throughout winter. I need to change my mindset, cover the time so I can’t see it, and find something really stimulating to watch on TV. Any suggestions?

So, despite completing the program, I don’t feel ready at all. When I ran my first 5k, I was working out five days per week. I need to get it together and do that instead of just running the three times.

This week, I’m running for 30 minutes each on Tuesday and Thursday. Of course, I’m nervous about Saturday, but it’s nothing like the nerves before my first 5k. And I actually don’t expect to do very well this time. And I’m facing my worst fear of coming in last. But, so what if I do? At least I’ll have finished it. I do have legs and feet and lungs to run. That’s something for which to be grateful!


And now for this week’s Food & Fitness Link-up:

planningLast week, I did so-so. My food plan was pretty good until Sunday. On Wednesday, I was cooking for just me so I changed my mind on baking a frozen black bean burger and decided to use up some sausage and make some Lasagna Soup instead. And since nothing was truly planned on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I can tell you that it was not good. That needs to change!

As for fitness, I need to figure out how I am going to really get on this yoga/pilates core work-out thing? Why am I not doing it? Why am I putting it off? I need to make a plan to do it right after work or something. I want to be stronger. I want to prevent back injuries in the future. This is what I need to do.

Here’s the plan for this week:


We are pretty well-stocked, so I didn’t do any grocery shopping this week. But I didn’t make it to the farmer’s market, so I need to add some veg to round out the meals below.

Monday – Pork Chops with Veg

Tuesday – Hot dogs & Veggie (Suggestion?)

WednesdayChicken Taco Skillet (with beef)

Thursday – Chili or Bag Meal

Friday – Healthy Take-out

SaturdayWalk FUR Love 5k. Dinner out – most likely here.

Sunday – Packer Game Day! It doesn’t look like it’ll be on regular TV here, so we’ll probably go somewhere to watch it. One of our favorite Packer Bars is the Buffalo Tap. Whatever we do, I’m going to look for the healthiest options! Dinner will be leftovers.

BreakfastsMagic Smoothies, Overnight Oats, Granola with Milk, Peanut Butter Toast (lots of options!)

Lunches – Leftovers (Lasagna Soup!) and Snack Lunches


Monday – Walk on treadmill and/or pilates/yoga. It’s going to be 100 degrees today!

Tuesday – Run 30 minutes

Wednesday – Pilates/Yoga, walk one dog around the block

Thursday – Run 30 minutes

Friday – Walk one dog around the block (Rest Day)

Saturday – 5k Race

Sunday – Pilates/Yoga, Walk



The Wine Bible giveaway ends at midnight tonight! {technically Tuesday at 12:01 am CST}, so please head over there to comment on what you’d like to learn most about wine for a chance to win!


Please look at my Food & Fitness Plan to answer:

What are your favorite side veggies and favorite ways to prepare them?

What kind of veggies do you serve with hotdogs!?

What is your favorite healthy take-out food?

What would you order at First Course of the Buffalo Tap?

How do you add pilates and/or yoga into your fitness routine?


Fiesta En